Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Best Exemplar

As women, sometimes we struggle with housekeeping don't we, especially when we have a growing family. Recognizing that there's a place for neatness we try to keep everything neat all the time and this is where our unrealistic expectations begin to get the best of us. Maybe secretly we do believe that neatness is next to godliness.

We want our living rooms to be works of arts instead of actually being lived in; we want our kitchens and our bedrooms to be Pinterest worthy and there should be no toys or clothing on any of the floors. The only place that might be allowed to be messy is the laundry room - and even there we drive ourselves crazy: we should have bins for each person and each color; washed laundry should be folded into neat stacks so that family members can easily spot their clothes. In other words, even the laundry area must be neat! Who can stay sane? We set unrealistic examples for those around us while perhaps driving them and ourselves crazy.

As I began to let go of perfection, I discovered that if I was a good model it was easier for everyone to mimic my actions. For years I thought everyone should fix their beds before leaving the house - I put in a lot of words and spent a significant amount of time pontificating to make this a reality but yet everyone fell short of this objective. One day I decided to demonstrate how important this was to me. So without any fanfare, I started making my bed in the morning. Soon, I noticed that my husband was doing the same thing without one bit of input from me. No nagging, no hurt feelings, no drained energy. It was important to me initially, so I did it. Clearly, it also mattered to others. My actions did more than all my words ever did and my actions allowed me to be a good example.

An exemplar is a person or thing serving as a typical example or excellent model. During his short life, Jesus modeled examples of things that were important. He not only spoke about them, he did them. And because he did them we have a great Exemplar in Him. Jesus showed us how to pray and how to be humble. He wowed the crowds with his wisdom and empathized with the downtrodden. He made his followers think by speaking in parables. He listened to those who had gone unheard. He performed miracles by feeding thousands and healing those who were sick for long periods of time. He got angry but didn't stay angry and most of all He loved well.

As an exemplar, Jesus was typical yet atypical for He was also diety - the Son of God. But while here on earth, He was very God and very man; an excellent man.  This gives us hope in that we can strive to be like Him in every aspect of life - from the mundane to the extraordinary.

God's word provides the best Exemplar in the form of Jesus. Scripture was given for our edification, knowledge, and actions. In it, we are told to be like Him.  Jesus was the epitome of perfection but we will never be. Instead, with His strength let's model his actions so that they make a difference to those around us. Just like fixing the bed had a domino effect in my household, may our actions have the same impact on those around us. May they want to imitate the Christ in us.

As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. Psalms 17:15

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. 
Ephesians 5:1,2

Are you a good exemplar?


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  1. What beautiful thoughts about the great example we have in Jesus! I had never really looked at the meaning of the word "Exemplar" so this has been so enlightening. And I am reminded of that old hymn "O to be Like Thee." May I lift up my eyes and let Him "stamp His own image deep on my heart." Blessed to be your neighbor over at #tuneinthursday today!

  2. Nylse, love this post and I can relate. I broke up with perfectionism years ago, especially with my housekeeping. Sometimes you'll find me on a blind date with "perfect" in a weak moment. But I'm committed to striving to maintain leaving once and for all. :-) Love this about Jesus, "He was very God and very man; an excellent man. This gives us hope in that we can strive to be like Him in every aspect of life - from the mundane to the extraordinary." Amen!

  3. The struggle is real, isn't it? I've had to learn that balance between clean and perfect. I'm always more comfortable in a cleaner space, but I live with a houseful of menfolk, so I've had to learn, over the years, which hills are worth dying on. Great post. Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. Am I a good example? It probably depends on the circumstance. :) I do make my bed every day, if that counts. lol. I'm so thankful we have Jesus as the perfect example!

  5. I have a thing about things being neat at home and often times I would catch myself very agitated with Sean when I wouldn't see him do the same. I noticed that once I began to pick my battles he began to do things that I did not ask him to do. It's so true, what may be important to you, might not be of much importance to them so doing is often the best way of teaching. Loved reading this post.

  6. good reminder, friend. more is caught than taught in re: to raising families - my friend would remind me. loved meeting you in person!!xx

  7. That's great that your family followed your example! I guess that is often the best way of teaching. It helps to have willing learners; Jesus led by example, and how often we do not follow His example because we just don't want to...
    May the Lord help us (and our children) to be more willing learners and to be true disciples of His.


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